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Tea Baggers In North Carolina Re-segregate Schools

13 Jan

If you ever wondered what the Tea Party really is all about…

Republican school board in N.C. backed by tea party abolishes integration policy

RALEIGH, N.C. – The sprawling Wake County School District has long been a rarity. Some of its best, most diverse schools are in the poorest sections of this capital city. And its suburban schools, rather than being exclusive enclaves, include children whose parents cannot afford a house in the neighborhood.

But over the past year, a new majority-Republican school board backed by national tea party conservatives has set the district on a strikingly different course. Pledging to “say no to the social engineers!” it has abolished the policy behind one of the nation’s most celebrated integration efforts.

And as the board moves toward a system in which students attend neighborhood schools, some members are embracing the provocative idea that concentrating poor children, who are usually minorities, in a few schools could have merits – logic that critics are blasting as a 21st-century case for segregation.

The situation unfolding here in some ways represents a first foray of tea party conservatives into the business of shaping a public school system, and it has made Wake County the center of a fierce debate over the principle first enshrined in the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education: that diversity and quality education go hand in hand.

The new school board has won applause from parents who blame the old policy – which sought to avoid high-poverty, racially isolated schools – for an array of problems in the district and who say that promoting diversity is no longer a proper or necessary goal for public schools.

“This is Raleigh in 2010, not Selma, Alabama, in the 1960s – my life is integrated,” said John Tedesco, a new board member. “We need new paradigms.”

But critics accuse the new board of pursuing an ideological agenda aimed at nothing less than sounding the official death knell of government-sponsored integration in one of the last places to promote it. Without a diversity policy in place, they say, the county will inevitably slip into the pattern that defines most districts across the country, where schools in well-off neighborhoods are decent and those in poor, usually minority neighborhoods struggle.

The NAACP has filed a civil rights complaint arguing that 700 initial student transfers the new board approved have already increased racial segregation, violating laws that prohibit the use of federal funding for discriminatory purposes. In recent weeks, federal education officials visited the county, the first step toward a possible investigation.

“So far, all the chatter we heard from tea partyers has not manifested in actually putting in place retrograde policies. But this is one place where they have literally attempted to turn back the clock,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the NAACP.

School Board Chairman Ron Margiotta referred questions on the matter to the district’s attorney, who declined to comment. Tedesco, who has emerged as the most vocal among the new majority on the nine-member board, said he and his colleagues are only seeking a simpler system in which children attend the schools closest to them. If the result is a handful of high-poverty schools, he said, perhaps that will better serve the most challenged students.

“If we had a school that was, like, 80 percent high-poverty, the public would see the challenges, the need to make it successful,” he said. “Right now, we have diluted the problem, so we can ignore it.”

So far, the board shows few signs of shifting course. Last month, it announced thatAnthony J. Tata, former chief operating officer of the D.C. schools, will replace a superintendent who resigned to protest the new board’s intentions. Tata, a retired general, names conservative commentator Glenn Beck and the Tea Party Patriots among his “likes” on his Facebook page…

 
7 Comments

Posted by on January 13, 2011 in Stupid Tea Bagger Tricks, The New Jim Crow

 

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7 responses to “Tea Baggers In North Carolina Re-segregate Schools

  1. nanakwame

    January 14, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    Well the NAACP need to focus now on the money given to schools, especially from 0 to 14, for the NAAWP has made themselves clear. Harvard is offering tuitions for families under 60k. Why not a little competition between the McCoy and Hatfield’s, just keep the violence down to a minimum. Our women busted their ass and they hollered during the 1980’s with Reagan. They are so dishonest as a ethnicity, sorry to say
    The End Resides in the Beginning, NOTE – means how we began will present itself as we move to a new. It is a deep concept, baby brother.

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  2. CNu

    January 14, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    Given the amount of money spent on busing, and given what’s around that signpost up ahead for petrol prices, and given the Fair Housing Act – there really is no compelling legal case to be made against the reinstitution of neighborhood schools.

    So long as the per capita funding is fairly and uniformly distributed within and across the District, the tea party conservatives are bound to win this one.

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    • btx3

      January 14, 2011 at 5:02 PM

      I think the whole point is that differential in spending between the schools.

      Not sure how the numbers on the busing part work out – as you have to run the buses anyway.

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  3. CNu

    January 14, 2011 at 6:25 PM

    “Neighborhood” schools, are within walking, boarding, biking distance of the residents in a neighborhood.

    As soon as you assign kids to schools based on their geographic proximity to the school, and, as long as you allocate the per pupil amount of revenue (net of admin expenses) to each location based on the number of students enrolled in that location, then there’s no longer any legal basis for claiming discrimination given that people are free to live and move wherever they can afford to.

    Will the schools resegregate, absolutely. Because neighborhoods remain largely segregated. Will the insufferable overhead and logistical strain of busing be eliminated, absolutely.

    Little kids Pre-K-2 have no business standing out on the corner waiting for a school bus at 6:20am or even earlier.

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    • btx3

      January 14, 2011 at 9:47 PM

      As a person who grew up going to an elementary school 15 miles away, and a Junior and High School 8-10 miles away… And in elementary school I rode the bus every day over an hour and 15-30 minutes each way. Now that was because of segbregation, and the fact that there weren’t any black “neighborhood” schools.

      Biking to school would have made me the black Lance Armstrong.

      Unless Raleigh has grown up substantially since the last time I was down there from suburban sprawl – a lot of kids are still in the same situation.

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  4. CNu

    January 14, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    well, that’s a special case of Kunstlerian madness then….,

    but here in the deseg capital of uhmurka, neighborhood schools were curtailed in favor of a massive project of bus-enabled shuffling of students from one corner of the city to the other – with the upshot that a district which formerly served 70,000 students in 1969 now disserves slightly more than 17,000 and spends many unnecessary millions on busing and cab fare…,

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    • btx3

      January 14, 2011 at 10:41 PM

      No – that was common in the South. Up until Brown – there were only 10 black High Schools in the whole state. In 1950 the state started on a panic building campaign to open most of those, because prior to that there were only 3. They were trying to defend against the looming court decisions.

      Football games were on Saturday – because the buses commonly drove 4 hours or more each way.

      North Carolina wasn’t much different, probably a little worse. Those Tea Baggers on the board down there remember that isht… Busing never was a problem down there until the first white kid got on a bus.

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